I am not a sentimental person. I often get asked what the name of my car or motorcycle is, and they are shocked to hear I don’t have one. I have owned many cars, most notably my Land Rover that got me through two-thirds of the Pan-American. I certainly have fond memories of that workhorse. But in the end, it’s just a thing, a tool used to escort me through my adventures. It makes the breakup easier.
I’ve heard many people say that four wheels move the body, two wheels move the soul. Though I believe this to be melodramatic. There is something to be said about the experience of riding the Carretera Austral that cuts through Patagonia versus driving it. To be exposed to the wilderness. It’s not just to be forced to endure the weather. It makes you take notice of things you perhaps would otherwise ignore. You get the smell of evergreen trees and cow manure. You witness the flight paths of hawks and get a closer look than you’d like of the entrails of dogs that unfortunately found themselves attempting to cross the road at the wrong time.
I suppose it’s tough to explain the connection you forge with a machine that schlepps you through so much. My bike has certainly proven to be a commendable vehicle for such an audacious trip. All in all, it’s good fun riding through these picturesque roads. The Austral and Ruta 40 being the two most famous roads in South America and a must for anyone traversing the continent. Just be prepared for heavy wind the whole way down. At any rate, the beer you drink after the ride tastes a hell of a lot better than the beer you drink after someone else drives you.